There's something on your head!

>> Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Okay, I tried. All day at work, when I wasn't, you know, working, I was trying to come up with something clever I could do for April Fool's Day. I thought and pondered, pondered and thought, trying to come up with some clever subject for a fake article or hoax I could pull. And what did I come up with?

Not a damn thing.

I've pulled some cute gags before, too. Once had someone nearly convinced that a college campus was just a movie set, for instance. But today, on the day that's supposed to be all about the gags, I came up with bupkis.

I thought maybe I could do a fake music or game review, but I wasn't sure anyone would get it. I thought about doing a rant on some fake political outrage, but I didn't necessarily want to pick on anyone I'd recently done a real rant about (okay, I'm talking about Ms. Clinton). I considered writing a fake conversion to Republicanism or endorsement of McCain or Huckabee, but didn't really think I had it in me.

And, of course, April 1st is the day everyone expects that kind of thing. You write a fake item for April Fool's Day, and who are you really fooling? Yourself if you think you're fooling anyone else. It's kind of like the Worst Cake Ever: when I was a little kid, my little sister and my best friend and the neighborhood and I baked an April Fool's cake for our parents. It had whatever we could think of putting in it--ketchup, pepper, whatever we could find in the kitchen that wasn't actually toxic. And did our parents gamely eat it? Of course not. When we served up this green cake, they pleasantly insisted we take the first bites.

Because, you see, our parents weren't stupid. And it was April Fool's Day.

Of course, I say this, but I also remember how angry some humorless readers of Discover magazine got back when the magazine reported the discovery of a subatomic particle the size of a bowling ball. I thought it was pretty damn funny (nerd that I am), and went through the April back issues I had looking for other hoaxes (and looked out for them every year after, 'til I stopped subscribing); Discover actually had an annual tradition of including a fake article in their updates section every April. Anyway, every May or June letters to the editor would appear from people who believed the articles and had questions, or from people who had been duped by the article and felt like asses when they finally figured it out--which was nearly as funny as the original articles.

There's something on your head! It's some kind of bug!

No, really! There's something on your head!

Did it work? Did you check to see if there was something there?

Okay, so I stole that from a five-year-old. A friend's daughter apparently tries that every year on April Fool's Day. It's her favorite bit. She's used it several years running, apparently. I'm not sure it works any better for her, but I may need to ask what the secret to selling the gag is. Maybe if I used bold instead of italics, or bold italics. Or maybe just a plain font, like there's no big deal.

Yeah, that might be the--there's something on your head!

Did I get you that time?



Nathan Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 10:01:00 PM EDT  

I'm clueless. Every time April 1st rolls around, I forget what it denotes. And then I forget another 30 or 40 times during the day. I fall for everything anyone tries on me.

(No. I didn't check my head because you reminded me what day it is.)

Jim Wright Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 10:14:00 AM EDT  

Don't feel bad, I couldn't think of anything either. And since I work at home by myself all day, I didn't have anybody to pull a gag on anyway, other than the dog that is.

Eric Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 12:27:00 PM EDT  

And dogs are easy targets, but with their lack of a sense of humor, what's the point? Sure, you can do the "fake toy-throw" where you make a tossing motion and hide the toy behind your back, or you can rattle a bag of treats and say "April Fool's!" to the dog. But what's the dog going to do? Pad over next to you and look up at you with those big, chocolate, questioning eyes while the tail wags hestitating and hopeful. Instead of getting to feel clever and funny, you'll quickly find yourself feeling like someone who's about to be arrested for animal cruelty.

There's no cynicism with dogs: they believe everything or nothing. Hope springs eternal or it never blooms at all, depending on what kind of upbringing and breed you're dealing with. The whole point of a practical joke is that the victim should have known better and possibly did, and recognizes it a second after the fact. A dog never knows otherwise--every approach to the front door is a possible romp outside (or, in the sadder and harder cases, every approaching foot is a possible kick in the flank). It's always a one or a zero. There is no two.

Looking at the previous paragraph, I believe I have just inadvertently demonstrated that the President has a dog's brain. Make of that what you will.

The April Fool's winner was obviously Shawn, who got to commandeer a trafficked website and announce the resurrection of Be. I'm not sure how many people actually fell for the gag--probably most people who got it saw the silliness immediately (tho' the same ought to have been said about the bigon)--but it was pretty damn amusing nonetheless. A big hand for The Brain!

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